Release Date: Oct 6, 2009
Record label: Hardly Art
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Kimberly Morrison and Jesse Lortz, better known as the Dutchess & the Duke, have opened up their sound just a bit on their second album, Sunset/Sunrise, and though the result still sounds spare and open, given the stark simplicity of their 2008 debut this music represents a subtle but decisive step forward. Greg Ashley of the Gris Gris produced and recorded Sunset/Sunrise, as well as contributing additional guitar and keyboards, and while he doesn't intrude too severely on the duo's low-key punk-folk stylings, the additional layers of organ, percussion, and strings on several tracks not only bring welcome new flavors to the mix, but the richer aural landscape suits the duo's simple but sturdy harmonies, which are noticeably more impressive here. (Lortz takes most of the lead vocals, but Morrison certainly makes the most of her spots and sounds more confident and controlled on these sessions.
Review by Art Levy.
On the Dutchess and the Duke's 2008 debut, Jesse Lortz exorcizes his demons. With songs about his bitterness toward his mother, and painfully self-hating lyrics like, "Don't tell me it's alright, 'cause everything inside is wrong with me," She's the Dutchess, He's the Duke hurts so good. With exposed-nerve sentiments married to raw acoustic melodies, it is music made by a damaged man (and his partner-in-crime, the smoky-voiced Dutchess Kimberly Morrison).
The development of a second album can be a preposterously complicated task. Most of the time, if your debut did well then you are forced into two options: 1) Make an album in the similar vein and be quick to cash in on the hype or 2) Take your time and make an album that alters your opening sound with stark differences. Well, what if you combine these two choices? Then you’re really asking for it.